Sky's the limit for Rugby's new hospital drone that will deliver medical supplies in super-quick time

Groundbreaking trial connects two hospitals by drone flight ‘corridor’

Alex Landowski (Medical Logistics UK), Elliot Parnham (Skyfarer) and Lucy Gilbert (Innovation Lead, UHCW)
Alex Landowski (Medical Logistics UK), Elliot Parnham (Skyfarer) and Lucy Gilbert (Innovation Lead, UHCW)

A groundbreaking new trial will see a drone take to the skies to deliver medical supplies between Rugby and Walsgrave.

The Medical Logistics UK corridor connects 32km of airspace between the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Trust’s hospitals and Rugby.

It will be in place until December 2022, to conduct a record-breaking number of routine and ad hoc medical drone deliveries.

Skyfarer Ltd, which is based in Coventry, and partner Medical Logistics UK, are behind the trial.

Project Manager for Skyfarer Georgia Hanrahan said: “As a result of significant road congestion and heavy infrastructure, we believe the use of drones can help support medical deliveries and speed up the process.

“There are no potholes in the sky, nor is there as much congestion, and without the need for heavy infrastructure to land, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can add to the fleet of logistical transfers and provide a faster, more sustainably friendly and cheaper solution.”

Skyfarer was founded in 2017 by Elliot Parnham, an Aerospace & Engineering graduate from Coventry University with the aim of using drones for good in society, with the first of its projects being Medical Drone Delivery.

Elliot said: “I started Skyfarer back in 2017 and it was all on that message of trying to provide societal change and that’s through this new high value technology of UAVs, or drones, being used in positive use cases such as medical delivery.”

This trial is sponsored and made possible by London-based Medical Couriers, Medical Logistics UK, a leading provider of time-sensitive medical deliveries and personalised on-demand medical tests. It offers national coverage, a competitive pricing structure and the highest standards in the market as it is CQC registered and UKAS accredited.

The company has a keen interest in technology, emission-free solutions and net zero targets, drones were an obvious need to the addition of the 90 per cent electric fleet of medical vehicles, which will increase to 100 per cent by the end of 2023.

This trial also kicks off the first leg of the Future Flight Phase 3 project’s corridor called Skyway, led by partners and UTM industry leaders Altitude Angel. The trial has been made possible by consortium partners Phoenix Wings, Altitude Angel,

UHCW NHS Trust, Everyware, BT and Airbox Systems.